Every year the Consumer Electronics Show, popularly known as CES and held at Las Vegas, USA, throws up some interesting products. This year too, the show held from 9th to 12th January introduced some novel ideas, prototypes and finished products to the nearly 180,000 visitors. Though there was too much to see, some interesting stuff that was noticed at the mega event is being mentioned here.
Let’s start with startups. Every major event is giving lots of attention to startup entrepreneurs—be it GITEX (Dubai), CES or Global Sources Electronics show. Nearly 1000 startups demonstrated their innovative ideas and products at CES. Some of the novel and exciting products developed by them are quite remarkable.
Robomart from Santa Clara, California is planning a fleet of on-demand, autonomous, self-driving small truck-like stores for grocery retailers, much like vending machines. These will help people buy at their door-step instead of going to the market. Customers could call the closest vehicle to their address using an app.
Stream from Amsterdam, Netherlands can provide secure Wi-Fi hotspots with embedded cloud SIM technology for travellers who, at present, have to depend on unsecured data transmissions (that can be hacked) from public places.
Zhor-Tech from Nancy, France has developed smart shoes that use sensors and algorithms to warm your feet in snow, detect fatigue or a disease, and even help stop drunken driving.
Quartz water bottles (half-litre) use UV-C light to purify water in a minute’s time so it can be safely consumed. It intelligently activates every four hours. Once charged, it can be used for 2-3 months.
Rocketbook is a ‘connected’ endlessly reusable drawing book. Its app helps you scan and send your (or your children’s) drawings or hand-written notes to anyone you wish, or save forever with connected cloud services.
IBM Research had put on display its model for commercially available universal quantum computer for business and science.
Such computers work under extremely cold cryogenic temperatures. ‘IBM Q’ quantum systems and services will be delivered via the IBM Cloud platform. However, quantum computing—though operational (as claimed by IBM)—is still in very early stage of research.
Sanbot Max robot claims to work like an employee for you 24×7 without any salary. It can work as a receptionist in an office or as a sales person in a store. As a receptionist, for instance, it will answer any visitor question, register and escort the visitor to the designated waiting area.
Quite a few companies including Nissan, Vanderhall, Mercedes and BMW displayed their concept vehicles.
Smartcircle Technology’s model S1 is the world’s most compact and lightweight e-bike. Weighing only 7kg, the carbon-fibre S1 can be folded in five simple steps into a small backpack and carried anywhere. Feature-rich with iOS and Android apps, Smartcircle S1 can be a boon for a connected commuter.
Relync from Relync Tech is the world’s smartest e-scooter. It can be folded in three seconds and carried in the trunk of a car or on an airplane. The e-scooter is packed with features for extra safety, greater convenience and multi-level security.
Another very attractive electric vehicle on display was 2018 Edison2 black beauty from Vanderhall. This two-seater generates 180HP and has an estimated range of about 320 kilometres on a single charge.
Hisense displayed their premium ULED TVs with ultimate contrast. These are equipped with prime array backlight, an advanced system with local dimming upwards of 1000 zones and unique ways to control these.
Samsung and TCL demonstrated their QLED TVs. QLED stands for quantum-dot light-emitting technology. Such TVs are capable of emitting brighter, more vibrant and more diverse colours.
Samsung’s latest slogan (seen at CES) is “Do What You Can’t”—implying an attempt to break the barriers of technology. It shows the company’s willingness to remain at the forefront of technology.
A great attraction at Samsung pavilion was The Wall—the world’s first modular microLED 371cm (146-inch) TV. It is a self-emitting TV with micrometre (µm) scale LEDs, which are much smaller than current LEDs, and serve as their own source of light. The MicroLED technology eliminates the need for colour filters or backlight, yet allows the screen to offer an excellent viewing experience.
LG showcased their OLED, Super UHD and the new ThinQ TVs. Super UHD TVs claim rich and accurate colour from any angle, now with enhanced black colour. ThinQ TVs also function as smart home hubs, offering access to other compatible smart home products such as robotic vacuum cleaners, air-conditioners, air-purifiers, smart lights, smart speakers and many other devices that can connect to the TV via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Care and Healthcare
Wearable devices like smart eye glasses that can help in relaxation, meditation or sleep apnea treatment, seem to be a new field that is fast emerging.
The smart driving sunglasses from Glatus react to drowsiness for fatigued drivers and react to sounds for hearing-impaired drivers for a safe driving.
The brain-sensing eyewear from Muse helps you relax or sleep peacefully, which is becoming a problem for many due to their hyper-active brains that are unable to focus on anything for long enough, or even relax.
Spopad is a kind of rubber pad (available in various shapes) that sticks to your belly and electrically stimulates its muscles to help you lose some excess fat. It can be worn discreetly under the clothes so you can use it anywhere. It is also available for arms, legs and buttocks.
You are well aware of 3D printing but do you know what 2.5D printing is? Casio showcased its Mofrel 2.5D printer that uses near-IR light to form slightly raised patterns (like embossing). This sculpting technique replicates material feel that you get on touching a textured leatherite sheet for instance.
As explained by Casio, the ink used to print the bump data (for the texture) contains carbon molecules. Exposure to near-IR light causes these molecules to vibrate, causing friction and thus heat. This heat, in turn, causes the micropowder layers to expand, thereby forming indentations on the digital sheet.
Not many in India would have heard the name of Royole Corporation. Formed in year 2012 by Stanford engineering students, it is a leading innovator and manufacturer of next-gen products like advanced flexible displays, flexible sensors and smart devices. Royole’s flexible capacitive sensors can be curved or bent to a very small radius of 3mm to form rolled-up keyboards for example.
These support multi-touch gestures and bezel-less design at lower cost than the traditional rigid sensors. Royole’s flexible displays are just 0.01mm thin with a bending radius of 1mm. These are lightweight, shatterproof and highly energy-efficient.
– By Ramesh Chopra, Executive Chairman, EFY Group